HAMSTRING WOES CRIPPLE NEGERI SEMBILAN BACKLINE

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Norhafiz Zamani Misbah
PETALING JAYA, 13 Sept – It has been a roller-coaster run for Negeri Sembilan in the Premier League since the M-League resumed officially on Aug 28 and head coach Sazali Saidon is caught in another fix for this weekend’s away match against Perak II.
After a 2-0 defeat to leaders Penang away Negeri Sembilan bounced back with a 2-1 win over Selangor 2 at the Tuanku Abdul Rahman Stadium in Paroi on Saturday – a win that threw the team a lifeline for a place in the Malaysia Cup.
“It was a far much better performance from the team compared to the match against Penang. However, it came with a high cost when skipper Norhafiz Zamani (Misbah) walked off with a hamstring injury after about 20 minutes,” said Sazali.
“It is a big blow to the team’s defense. Shahrom (Kalam) is already out after suffering a similar injury in the match against Penang. Perak 2 is wounded and it makes our task all the more difficult in Manjung.
“We will try to buildup on our momentum (after the win over Selangor 2) and get a positive result against Perak 2. The match against Selangor 2 was one of the best performances from us and hopefully, things can only get better despite the injuries.”
Perak 2 was beaten by Kelantan 1-0 at the Sultan Muhammad IV Stadium in Kota Bharu.
The three points off Selangor 2 took Negeri to seventh place in the league standings with nine points.
Sazali sees the win over the higher-ranked Selangor 2 as a “confidence booster” but will first take stock of the team’s injury woes on Monday when the training resumes.
Brazilian forward Almir Neto scored a brace for Negri against the highly touted Selangor outfit with goals in the 30th and 87th minutes. Quintin Cheng had earlier given Selangor 2 the lead on 29 minutes.
Last year Negri finished sixth in the Premier League. In the FA Cup, Negri was a second-round casualty, and in the Malaysia Cup failed to get past the group stage.
Penang leads the Premier League with 17 points from seven matches – ahead of second-placed Kuala Lumpur on goal difference. The Panthers scored an impressive 3-2 win over JDT II at the Larkin Stadium have a goal tally of 16-5 against the City Boys who have a 15-6 tally.
Kuala Lumpur whipped Terengganu 2 with a big 4-1 win to keep pace with Penang. Terengganu 2 is third on 12 points.

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